Origin Exercises For Bass

The Only Collection Of Foundational Exercises For Bass Players Who Play Bass Lines!

Why I Pulled The First Book I Ever Wrote (That You Can Get For Free)

On Feb 5th 2010 I published my first ever bass book...called Bass Hanon.

However, as detailed elsewhere, I pulled it soon afterwards because:

  • The exercises are based on piano exercises, and the point of the exercises was to work on strengthening and independence for the fingers when playing piano. As such, the exercises aren’t particularly musical.
  • The exercises were written over 150 years ago BEFORE the bass guitar was invented and before the language of the bass guitar began to be developed in jazz and blues and therefore have little relevance bass players.


I wrote a Bonus Report called BASS HANON VARIATIONS where I detailed how the original Hanon exercises could be adapted to work on specific playing issues that students needed to work on. That methodology stayed with me as I actively sought to discover bass exercises that met the following criteria:

  • Contained material (devices) that you could take and use in real world bass lines.
  • Could be played with real world rhythms (and with multiple different rhythmic options).
  • Were played within chordal frameworks that correspond to the kind of chordal progressions found in songs in rock and pop.
  • Could be adapted to work on technique development.
  • Could be adapted to work on fretboard familiarity.

Whenever I'm looking for the answers to bass questions I almost invariably find that...



...All Roads Lead To Jamerson (And McCartney)

It's no secret how highly I regard Motown bass legend James Jamerson. By studying his work I was able to begin the process of identifying the pieces of bass vocabulary that form the DNA of the language of bass. While working out how to practice those devices - the DNA of the bass language -  with a thorough and disciplined method I was flicking through Standing In The Shadows Of Motown and found gold on Page 91:

The text that accompanies this exercise tells us:

  • Jamerson developed this etude (and taught it to session bass player Ron Brown) to help him practice his chromatic approach to bass playing.
  • The etude is a four bar phrase (with variations) that goes through the cycle of fifths.
  • The variations in the etude allowed Jamerson to stay in the open and lower positions of the bass.

This idea became the foundation for the exercises that I developed to help me (and my students) with bass practice that meets the criteria noted above.

Introducing "Origin Exercises" For Bass

Rather than give you a spiel about Origin Exercises, I'd prefer to demonstrate them so you can see notation and tab and hear the exercises being played. The following series of exercises are excerpted from my book Learning From James Jamerson Volume 1...and you should be able to see (and hear) how the exercises conform to the guidelines outlined above.

Additionally you should be able to find a point on the learning sequence that represents YOUR ability level and then visualize that if you practiced that level thoroughly and mastered it that if you moved to the next level, how you could use that exercise you've learned to improve your bass playing!

The device used to demonstrate this process is the 8-6-5-6 with the 8-6-5-8 variation. Here’s an exercise in quarter notes:

The next exercise is to use the device at a quarter note level, but execute it with 8th note rhythms by replacing each quarter note with two 8th notes. Like this:

The next exercises practices the 8-6-5-6 and 8-6-5-8 devices on the back end of the bar (beats 3 and 4) at an 8th note level.

To make the separation between front end of the bar and back end of the bar clear, I’m going to play a root note on the downbeat of each bar and then play either 8-6-5-6 or 8-6-5-8 in 8th notes on the back end of the bar:

From here it gets rhythmically interesting. You can see (and hear) that the 8-6-5-6 device is conceived and played at an 8th note level. What we can do now is practice different 16th note rhythms on the back end of the bar using rhythmic replacement. Although this creates a 16th note feel, the device is still being conceived at an 8th note level.

Here’s the kind of exercise you can do with 16th Note Rhythm 1:


Here’s the same exercise, but this time we’re using 16th Note Rhythm 2

That should give you a good idea of the kind of learning sequence you can use to work on your skills using essentially the same exercise.

There are further variations you could use:

  • The remaining four 16th note rhythms
  • Practicing the devices at a 16th note level - so each device note gets a duration of a 16th note
  • Practicing for 'time'

And so on.

And although I've demonstrated this exercise with a simple I-IV to I-IV-V chord progression, there are plenty of different progressions you can use to practice devices ranging from cycle tracks to common chord progressions.

Why Should I Listen To You?

Here's A Picture Of My Amazon.com Bookshelf (early Sept - 2022)

Since July 2021 I've been turning my years of teaching into books.  So far I've written 14 (plus am working on another to be published in either September or October and this programme will lead to three more as by products!).

My advice: click this link for LEARNING FROM JAMES JAMERSON VOL 1 and then check out some of the reviews. That will tell you more about my teaching than almost anything, though there are some testimonials below too.

One other fact to consider about this: Amazon's data says that most books get 1 or 2 reviews per 1000 copies purchased. Jamerson Vol 1 currently has 168 reviews on Amazon.com from around 2000 copies sold since its release last August...so the fact that it's getting 50X the number of reviews that Amazon's own data suggests it should be getting, tells its own story.

The Four Learning Benefits Of ORIGIN EXERCISES FOR BASS

Origin Exercises For Bass is a unique collection of foundational exercises that will help you develop your bass playing in the following four areas:

  • Real World Device Knowledge

    I’ve been codifying the language of bass lines for over 10 years and the language of the bass guitar is smaller than you might think but consistent across rock, R&B, soul, country, blues, funk and more.

    Just as a tennis player isolates and practices his ground strokes and serves and volleys, or a golf player isolates his drives and chips and putts, Origin Exercises For Bass isolates each of the foundational devices of the bass language and the exercises will help you assimilate those devices.


  • Technique Development

    As demonstrated in the examples above, it doesn’t matter what level YOU currently are as a bass player because you can benefit from these exercises at one of the levels that matches your technique level. Then as you progress with those exercises, you can look to progressively increase the technique levels that you play at. That progression is rhythmic though and still uses the basic skeleton of the exercise – so you’re not learning ‘new’ exercises, just new rhythmic applications of the exercises.

  • Fretboard Knowledge

    Fretboard knowledge is more than knowing where each note of the musical alphabet is, it’s about knowing that when spontaneously playing in a real world situation that if you land on say Ab at the sixth fret of the D string with the first finger of the fretting hand, and decide to play a specific device that you’ll be able to play that chosen device without having to put your hands into ‘scalar positions.’  Every exercise in this program can be played in different locations of the fretboard to build that complete fretboard mastery.


  • Subliminal Ear Training

    When learning these exercises initially I use a practice track with a chordal metronome (and practrice slowly!). But as facility and tempo levels build, I recommend moving to practice tracks that have realistic sounding drum rhythms and guitars/keyboards. Without consciously working on it, practicing device exercises with these kind of tracks will subliminally improve your ear. One day you’ll be listening to a bass performance (on the radio, on youtube, at a gig…wherever) and you’ll hear the bass player play a device and you’ll say to yourself: I know what device he (or she) just played! That’s due to the subliminal ear training you’ll get from this practice.

What Other People Say?

Here's What Bass Players Just Like You Say About My Teaching - here's Rodi:

And Paulia:

And Rob (and Goran):

Delivery and Bonuses

Here's How The Program Will Be Delivered...and Details of Bonuses

  • Delivery

    The content for Origin Exercises For Bass Players will start going live in the week commencing September 12th. There will be at least two major updates each week until the program is finished….you’l be notified via email with each update.

  • Beta Bonus - Digital Copies Of Two Books

    As noted the program will result in three books! You’ll get a digital copy of  8th Note Origin Exercises For Bass and 16th Note Origin Exercises For Bass when they’re available. (Note that HANON VARIATIONS is no longer part of this offer…)

  • Beta Bonus - Bass Hanon PDF

    Although this PDF hasn’t been commercially available for over 8 years for the reasons I’ve covered….if you want a copy of the 250 Page Plus PDF, there’s one waiting for you in the Bonus Area.

  • Beta Bonus - Bass Hanon Variations PDF

    The Bass Hanon Variations PDF will form the skeleton for the HANON VARIATIONS (For bass, piano and other instruments) book. The original PDF is already locked and loaded in the bonus area.

  • Beta Bonus - Bass Hanon Midi Files

    For the original Bass Hanon book, I programmed midi files for every exercise featuring the exercise played with a midi bass sound, a block piano chord, and a simple metronomic drum beat. These midi files can be imported into programs like Sibelius, MuseScore, Guitar Pro and others.

  • Six 16th Note Band In A Box Chordal Metronome Styles For Band In A Box

    When I was practicing the six foundational 16th note rhythms, one of the things I found super helpful was to have a chordal metronome practice track comprising a block chord at the start of the bar and a drum rhythm where the 16th note rhythm I was practicing was duplicated by the hi-hat. I’ll upload MP3 files at various tempos if you don’t have Band in A Box….if you DO have Band In A Box I’ll share my 16th note styles and a screencast video showing you how to create your own similar styles!

  • Band In A Box Chord Progression Files (Plus MP3s)

    Different devices need different chord progressions for best practice.  Although the chord progressions I use are easy to program in Band In A Box I’m going to share the original Band In A Box files so you can practice at precisely the tempo you need and with the kind of band style you want to be practicing with. I’ll generate MP3 tracks at various tempos for those of you who don’t have Band in A Box too.

The Million Dollar Question - How Much Is Enrollment?

When ORIGIN EXERCISES FOR BASS is complete it will contain hundreds of exercises that you can use to work on your rhythm, or your playing of devices within specific chordal contexts, or your 16th note precision, or your time.

Plus by using the 'learning sequence' built into the different exercises for each device you can work on your technique levels too.

When this program is complete....it will be at least $127 (and worth every cent in my humble but accurate opinion).

For the beta run though your investment won't be that though...if you jump in today your investment is....

Your investment today is...

...just $127

15 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee: This is the first collection of exercises created for bass guitar that work on fretboard development, technique, real world devices and subliminal ear training at the same time. As such I'm 100% confident that not only will you find the information in the course highly valuable, but that the implementation of this material will make a massive difference to your bass playing.

I want YOU to be just as confident with your purchase though, so there's a full 15 day no questions asked guarantee period.

If for whatever reason you're not satisfied,  all you have to do is drop me an email and let me know.  I'll refund your purchase ASAP with no hassles and no hoops to jump through, and we can part as friends.

What To Do Now:  Click on the big yellow button below and you'll be taken to the enrollment page on the 8020bass.com site, where Origin Exercises For Bass Players is hosted. If you've signed up there before, just log in and then complete enrollment. If you're new to the 8020bass.com site (which is a different website!) then just enter your best email and a password as part of the enrollment process.

Once you've enrolled, you'll be added to Origin Exercises For Bass Players and sent a welcome email. If you don't receive that email for any reason, then don't panic, simply send me an email and I''ll work out what went wrong in the process and get you added to the site manually. So go ahead. Click the big yellow button below and JOIN NOW.

Frequently Asked Questions?

  • What Is The Format Of Each Lesson?

    Each lesson will have its own web page where you can download a PDF of the lesson. All musical examples will be presented in notation and tab form on the lesson page, along with a video of the examples played at two tempos with picture in picture editing. (As you can see higher up this page).

    Additionally there will be a ‘downloads’ page where you can download MP3 tracks for your own practice.

  • How Many Lessons Will There Be?

    At this point (early September 2022) I’m not sure. I plan to cover the 15 most commonly used devices…but some of these devices have multiple variations that we can cover. (E.g. there are approximately 10 major triad variations that we’ll cover – and each one will be its own lesson).

    So at least 20 ‘lessons.’  Probably more than 30. Maybe as many as 40. (And each of these lessons will have multiple versions of the exercise – in quarter notes, 8th notes and 16th notes, played in different fretboard locations where applicable, played with harmonic metronomes and so on.)

Paul Wolfe, SW England

P.S. If there's any info you need to make a decision then just drop me an email and ask away!

P.P.S if you're in the UK and want to enroll, drop me an email as I've got a Paypal Link to a UK Only price that will save you a few quid due to the poor rate of sterling against the USD.